It's kind of sad and funny that the best-designed weapons in Patch 3.1 aren't going to come from Ulduar but from the cool but overshadowed Argent Tournament. As great as the Tier 8 armor designs are, most of the Ulduar weapons just aren't on par, with the awesomely-named Voldrethar, Dark Blade of Oblivion looking like something you'd stick into an hors d'oeuvre sooner than you would stick it into an opponent. Remember Ashkandi, Greatsword of the Brotherhood? Or Zin'rokh, Destroyer of Worlds? The new 2-handed sword from Ulduar follows that great naming tradition but minus the visual badassery.
On the other hand, the iLevel 200 weapons from the Argent Tournament are some of the best-looking weapons in Wrath of the Lich King. The best thing about them is that aside from being cool, they're thematically designed to fit specific races. As the Argent Tournament highlights being able to 'champion' a particular major or racial city, it's highly appropriate that the rewards fit the theme. Unfortunately for many players who raid, these weapons won't be upgrades. However, the Argent Tournament was specifically designed for the solo player, a wonderful concession to a sizeable portion of the game's customers. Those players should find that the Argent Tournament weapons are excellent upgrades from quest rewards or even heroics.
The designs are visually stunning, with cool glows and -- in the case of the Gnomeregan Bonechopper -- hilarious animation. The weapons are a triumph for solo players everywhere and is even a nod to role-players who should appreciate the strong racial flavor. So even though the hardcore raiders have access to the most powerful weapons in the game, solo players will still be able to wield some of the most beautiful. For iLevel 200, the numbers on them aren't bad, either.
Gallery: Argent Tournament racial weapons
Blizzard's artists have outdone themselves with these weapons. For now, most of them don't share models with any others in the game, unlike the Ulduar items which share models between 10- and 25-man drops. I hope Blizzard comes out with more racial or even faction-themed gear. The only downside is that there are no Orc- and Human-themed weapons, so players will have to make do with items like the Royal Crest of Lordaeron. Except for perhaps Val'anyr, Hammer of the Ancient Kings and a couple of other items, the weapons of the Argent Tournament easily trump Ulduar gear in terms of appearance. It's a great job by Blizzard, and hopefully a mere hint of things to come.
Patch 3.1 is live and it takes us into Ulduar, delivers us dual specs, and brings significant changes to all the classes! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1 and the official patch notes!